Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Received...David Mitchell

The Bone ClocksBack in the summer of 2012, when I learned that the Wachowski Brothers' directed Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, was to be released in October, I decided it was about time that I read the novel, considering that David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas had been published eight years earlier.

Cloud Atlas was even one of the few books I added to my Goodreads shelf -- that's how intrigued I was with the prospect of finally reading this book. The story is divided into seemingly unrelated sections: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, Letters from Zedelghem, Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, and The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish -- all well-written and as intriguing as I had hoped: great stuff. Then I got to the section An Orison of Sonmi-451 -- an interview with a genetically engineered fabricant. And the interview seemed to go on and on and... and I became bored and set the book down. Never to pick it up again. In fact, just the other day I realized the title was still listed as being read on my Goodreads shelf, about two years later! (P.S. I haven't seen the movie yet either; I'll wait now for it to be available on cable.)

But, I'm not giving up on David Mitchell, and, in fact, courtesy of, I now have an Advance Reader's Edition of The Bone Clocks to read at my leisure.

Here's an excerpt from the publisher's PR sheet that was inside the book:
Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena, and she has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly's life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence; a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq; a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world.
Mitchell's writing has that underlying element of the "fantastic" -- science fiction in Cloud Atlas, and evidently the supernatural in The Bone Clocks -- and yet, his fiction is considered "mainstream," as is the fiction of W. P. Kinsella, whom I wrote about here, and Kazuo Ishiguro, whom I wrote about here, to name only two others. And gawd help us if we should ever refer to these individuals as science fiction writers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Children of Old Leech Anthology: Excerpts

The Children of Old LeechPress Release: The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA–Word Horde is proud to announce the release of The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron. Editors Ross E. Lockhart (The Book of Cthulhu, Tales of Jack the Ripper) and Justin Steele (The Arkham Digest) have gathered together many of the brightest lights in dark fiction to pay homage to one of horror's masters.

Over the past decade, Laird Barron has become one of the most lauded and influential names in horror fiction. His short stories, two novels, and three collections have garnered numerous nominations and awards, including three Shirley Jackson Awards and a Bram Stoker Award. Recognizing Barron's meteoric rise, Lockhart and Steele sought to assemble an original tribute anthology unlike any other, focusing on atmosphere and affect, rather than simple pastiche.

"Barron's fiction has long been an inspiration to his peers," says co-editor Justin Steele. "The interwoven stories and novels create a rich tapestry of noir-infused cosmic horror. This mythology makes for an excellent backdrop for the weird tales within." Offered this unique opportunity to play in what Publishers Weekly calls Barron's "worm-riddled literary playground," these children of Old Leech—Barron's fans, peers, friends—conjured an anthology "with a coherent feeling of dread, without feeling derivative of the source."

The Children of Old Leech is distributed by Ingram, and will be available in Hardcover and eBook formats through most online retailers and better independent bookstores everywhere in July 2014. For more information about Word Horde or to request an electronic review copy, please email publicity[at]wordhorde[dot]com.

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On April 24 I wrote about copy editing The Children of Old Leech for Word Horde; and then on July 5 I posted details on the deluxe edition of TCoOL, of which only 100 numbered copies were made available for sale.

In celebration of the release of TCoOL on July 15, excerpts from each of the stories were published on the Word Horde blog over a span of weeks. All of the excerpts have now been posted.

Here is the contents list for The Children of Old Leech:
Introduction: Of Whisky and Doppelgängers — Justin Steele
The Harrow — Gemma Files
Pale Apostle — J. T. Glover & Jesse Bullington
Walpurgisnacht — Orrin Grey
Learn to Kill — Michael Cisco
Good Lord, Show Me the Way — Molly Tanzer
Snake Wine — Jeffrey Thomas
Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox — T.E. Grau
The Old Pageant — Richard Gavin
Notes for "The Barn in the Wild" — Paul Tremblay
Firedancing — Michael Griffin
The Golden Stars at Night — Allyson Bird
The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of
  Yesterdays — Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
The Woman in the Wood — Daniel Mills
Brushdogs — Stephen Graham Jones
Ymir — John Langan
Of a Thousand Cuts — Cody Goodfellow
Tenebrionidae — Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
Afterword — Ross E. Lockhart

The first story excerpt is "The Harrow" by Gemma Files; at the bottom of this excerpt you will find a link to the next story, and so on, through the entire contents list. I would normally say something to the effect of "Enjoy the read!" -- but "enjoy" isn't quite the word one would use when it comes to Laird Barron's work, or the work of those writing in Barron's world. In my earlier blog post on copy editing this anthology I used the phrase "a feeling of dread, of impending doom..." So read at your own risk....

If you are a fan of Laird Barron's writing, then you will definitely want to read these stories. If you are a reader of dark fantasy -- very dark fantasy! -- and you are new to the world of Laird Barron, then you should be reading these stories.